Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Special Reports

A Mother's Diary of War. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired May 29, 2022 - 20:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST (on-camera): The war in Ukraine is the largest conflict in Europe since World War II. The Russian invasion to overthrow Ukraine's government and take control has become a grinding war of attrition.

Tonight we want you to see the war through the eyes of one Ukrainian mother. Her name is Olena Gnes. She's 36 and lives in Kyiv. She was a tour guide before the invasion and posted videos about her life and country on a YouTube channel she called "What is Ukraine?" When the war began, she continued to document her family's experience sleeping in a basement shelter, never knowing if they would survive through the night.


OLENA GNES, UKRAINIAN MOTHER OF THREE: Hello, ladies and gentlemen. This is your guide Olena and all our family. Katya (PH), Taras (PH) and over there, Dorina (PH) and our daddy.


COOPER (voice-over): Olena Gnes lives in Kyiv with her husband Sergiy and their three children. It's two days before the Russian invasion. The U.S. is warning an attack may be imminent. Like many Ukrainians, Olena doesn't think Russia will invade.

GNES: You know, everybody right now is following the news in Ukraine because basically we don't know what is going to happen. Yes, and, of course, there is a lot of anxiety in the air because like right now at this moment, right now, today, everything is absolutely fine, but I don't know and nobody knows what's going to happen tomorrow.

COOPER: The routines of daily life in Kyiv continue. The afternoon she takes her 4-month-old daughter Dorina to pick up her other kids at school. Katya is 7 and Taras is 5.

GNES (through text translation): What love, what love.

COOPER: As night falls, they head home.

GNES: My neighbors are at home. It's not like everybody left Kyiv because they are afraid of the Russian attack. Taras. Hello.

COOPER: The kids tell Olena their teachers have prepared a bomb shelter at school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): They showed us only one room and there was a very long corridor.

GNES (through text translation): And did they explain why you need this shelter?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): Yes, if it's very dangerous outdoors.

GNES (through text translation): So you can safely hide there? From what kind of danger?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): I don't know. For example, somebody can throw a nuclear bomb here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): Yes, it's OK there. We have everything there. There's an emergency box there. We have water there, food if we get hungry. Thermometer.

GNES (through text translation): So everything is fine there.

COOPER: Everything is fine there. That's what they believe when they go to bed.

GNES: My biggest wish is peace in Ukraine. Thank you for watching. Have a peaceful day. Good-bye.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I just heard a big bang right here behind me. Probably we shouldn't have done the live shot here. There are big explosions taking place.

COOPER: There are explosions in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Odessa, Mariupol, Melitopol, and other cities across Ukraine. The first explosions in Kyiv around 5:00 a.m. wake Olena and Sergiy in their eight-floor apartment.

GNES: I don't really know what's going on but then we are disturbed because we basically heard explosions and we heard airplanes flying so we woke up and we are --

COOPER: They get their kids dressed and go outside to a pedestrian tunnel. There's no bomb shelter near Olena's apartment.

GNES: OK. So we are here at our near (INAUDIBLE) which this underground tunnel. We can hear the skies. Dorena, Sergiy, hello, guys, how are you? Fine?


OK. Now I think I need to talk to my husband and decide what to do next. Do we stay here or we go to subway station? Or we drive away or we come back home.

COOPER: As day breaks there's heavy fighting on the outskirts of Kyiv. Russian helicopters attack an airport north of the capital. Russia intends to use it to fly in more ground troops and quickly seize control. Russian airborne troops with white armed bands engage in a tense gun battles with Ukrainian forces.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Inside in here. Here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How can I -- how can I focus?

CHANCE: Focus. Go that way.

COOPER: Olena has found shelter in the basement of a building not far from her apartment. This is where she and her children will sleep from now on. Me and my family, my children, we are in the bomb shelter. Here we are.


GNES: And guys, we hear explosions, and it sounds like they are very close to Kyiv or already in Kyiv.

COOPER: Fighting around Kyiv continues throughout the day and following night.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: The Ukrainian military is vastly outnumbered.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. is concerned that Kyiv could fall into Russian control within days.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's definitely a David and Goliath element to this even as we are seeing Ukrainian forces fighting so hard to defend this capital of nearly three million people.

GNES: We hear explosions in Kyiv very close to us. Officially the mayor of Kyiv, he said that there were five, six explosions at our -- how to call it, electricity station, so they are coming, but we will resist. As you can see people keep calm but, of course, everybody is very much worried. Very much worried. And, you know, we Ukrainians, we will protect our capital until the last blood.

WARD: Nobody knows exactly what will happen tonight, how things will play out and what this city will look like in the morning.

COOPER: There are rumors President Zelenskyy may flee Kyiv. That night about six miles from Olena's basement shelter the president makes a video to rally the nation and assure people he's staying.

PRES. VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINE (through text translator): The president is here. We are all here. Our military are here. Citizens in society are here. We are all here defending our independence, our state, and it will remain so. Glory to our defenders. Glory to our women defenders. Glory to Ukraine.

COOPER: In the morning against all odds, Kyiv is still in Ukrainian control. GNES: So the latest update is that we are alive. I am alive. This is

Dorina. She is sleeping on the floor. And some other people in the shelter woke up. It's already morning. It's like 7:00 in the morning. Katya and Taras are sleeping on a small sofa here. It's very important that we survived this night. Now the day has come. You know, at night, everything looks much more scary for people, so as you can see, even many people left the bomb shelter right now because it's more than 7:00 in the morning.

COOPER: Many in Kyiv are leaving. Long lines of cars clog the roads heading west. Train stations around the country fill with families trying to get out. Olena decides she and the kids will stay.

GNES: I feel safe here. The chances for us to die here in Kyiv are equal to the chances for us to die on the road somewhere, and another thing, I want my children to be alive, of course, but both physically and spiritually. I want them to be strong. I want them to be free.

COOPER: Olena's husband Sergiy brings supplies for his family. He's volunteered to fight despite having no military training.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): Daddy, what were you doing today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): I can't tell you, Katya. Bye.

COOPER: He leaves quickly to rejoin his unit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): Mom, where is Daddy going?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): Mom, I want to go to Daddy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): Me too. Where did Daddy go?

GNES (through text translation): He went to defend us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): To war?

COOPER: It's hard to explain to children what's happening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): And why do we need to go to war? Why?

GNES (through text translation): Because the enemy has come to our land.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): And why does the enemy need to go to war?

GNES (through text translation): Because they have a bad president. COOPER: Taras is afraid his father will die.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): But he will die anyway.

GNES (through text translation): He will not die. He will come back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): Why?

GNES (through text translation): Because he loves us so much that he will not allow himself to die.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): How?

GNES (through text translation): He loves us so much that he will surely be back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): But how? What if he falls somewhere and doesn't come back?

GNES (through text translation): That's impossible. He will come back. He will come back.

COOPER: Forty miles northwest of Kyiv, a massive Russian convoy is heading toward the capital. Russian forces already on the outskirts of the city are meeting fierce resistance.

CHANCE: The Russian column that has come down here has been absolutely hammered. I don't want to show you this too much but there's a body there. That's a Russian soldier that is lying there dead on this bridge. Look at this. I mean, what kind of munitions does it take to do that to a car, to a vehicle? You know, I know, I was speaking to the local Ukrainian commanders here they've been saying they were using Western anti-tank missiles to attack these columns. Look, so recent the battle. This vehicle is still smoking.

COOPER: Four days after the invasion begins, I interview Olena for the first time on CNN.

(On-camera): Have you thought about trying to leave?

GNES: Yes, many times, and one is to keep and survive, another one is to stay and to face the battle. And we decided to stay, and what is going to happen, the worst happens to us in both cases, we can die and we decided that we can die anyway.

COOPER: Have you been able to talk to your husband? I know he's volunteered to fight.

GNES: Yes, yes, before the night started I talked to him. Yes, and we had about two minutes of conversation and that was the longest. Before he was saying only I love you and I responded the same and that was all and this time he even described a little bit of what they were doing. Well, in total he said that it's not romantic at all, but people are doing very well. Everybody, many people, they do their best to protect the city, to protect Ukraine.

COOPER (voice-over): Olena is doing her best as well trying to make her kids feel safe, though there is no safe place in Ukraine.



GNES: So today I visited, I rushed to our home which was very nice. I spent some time over there to collect all the products that they had, nothing (INAUDIBLE), but, you know, some clothes, some blankets for the children. And I even took some food for them. I took these for Taras. I took this kitten for Katya. And these Dorina already had. It's fun so it's enough. Yes, these are kids who are playing and laughing. Yes, children are children.

COOPER: An apartment building in Chernihiv some three hours north of Kyiv is struck. At least 33 people are killed.

Russia continues to claim they're not killing civilians or striking residential buildings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): And this is what they (EXPLETIVE DELETED) call not bombing residential building? It is (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

COOPER: Today Olena sees her husband for the first time in nearly a week.

GNES: He just come to visit us, Sergiy. Say hello.

SERGIY: Hello.


GNES: He is so dirty and he smells so bad, guys, really. And he looks very tired and he has very red eyes, but he is beautiful, yes, my hero. Because Sergiy came just like for 15 minutes of time just to see us. Honestly he wanted us to hop on the car and drive away because the situation looked really serious and this is like really, really the very last chance for us to escape, move away.


COOPER: More than a million Ukrainians have fled the country so far, but Olena feels safest here in the shelter, though she knows it's not really built to withstand a bomb blast.

GNES: There is a window, that's the problem, you see? It's a bomb shelter with a window. You shouldn't have a window in the bomb shelter because it's dangerous in case of the shock wave. The glass will be knocked out and the pieces of the glass can be thrown away and injure somebody, but, of course, as always we hope for the better.

COOPER (on-camera): And you are still resolute to stay?

GNES: I stay. I still resolute to stay. I stay here because this is my home. If you guys are afraid, then I have no option to be afraid, yes. If I leave, nobody else is going to come and protect my home and protect me, so it should be me, it should be my husband, it should be my neighbors. We should protect ourselves. We should fight ourselves.

I don't want to sacrifice my children. I don't want to sacrifice myself. I don't want to be a martyr or something. I just want my peaceful normal life back. I just want to go back to my bedroom. I want my husband back into my bed. I want, you know, just to have normal peaceful life that I had before.

COOPER (voice-over): There are moments in the basement when life seems almost normal.

GNES: For the first time Dorina started to grab her feet into her hands and to get to it like this, yes, and put it into her mouth. We slept well. Katya doesn't want to wake up. It's already like 10:00 a.m. and she doesn't want to wake up.

Each morning or many times during the night when they wake up, I had this feeling, you know, when my mother passed away, when I was waking up and I thought, oh, so this was the nightmare. I was just sleeping, my mother is still alive, and now I have this same. Each time I wake up and I wake up many times at night, I hope it was just a bad dream. I will wake up and it will be all gone, but it's not.

COOPER: Her life before the invasion already feels like a distant memory.

GNES: Sergiy was so sweet. And we were smiling here. This is us again. Look at us. You see. 15 years ago or something or how many years. And these are our wedding photographs, this is 13 years ago. Wedding photographs. This is my favorite one basically. Me and Sergiy. Very romantic, yes?

Hello, honey. I saw you tonight in my dreams. You were basically holding me in your arms and proposing to me to get married, and I said, come on. We are already married.

COOPER: But the reality of war is never far away. A Russian tank column on the northeastern edge of Kyiv is ambushed by Ukrainian troops and suffers heavy losses.

The day before in the southern city of Mariupol a maternity ward is destroyed by Russian bombing.

WARD: You can see those women stumbling out heavily pregnant, some having just given birth. You can hear the sounds of children and babies crying. You can see they are all cut up from the enormous destruction.

COOPER: This pregnant woman later dies from her injuries, her baby dies as well. A week later in Mariupol a theater clearly marked as a shelter for children is also bombed. According to local officials about 300 people are killed.

GNES: I cannot imagine anything worse than what happened in Mariupol. We are innocent people, innocent children were killed by Russians, and all this drama, where hundreds of people were hiding with kids.


And the big super bomb, they just dropped it on the theater, near the theater, there was with big letters, it was written children in Russian language. They still attacked. When this comes to the end, I promise to come to Mariupol and make many videos about Mariupol and about these people. We should not forget, we should not forgive, never.

COOPER: In Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv, about 16 miles from Olena, Russian and Ukrainian troops are fighting block by block. Tens of thousands of residents are trying to escape near a destroyed bridge.

WARD: There has been a steady barrage of artillery since we got here just over an hour ago, and a never-ending stream of people just desperately trying to cross to safety.

COOPER: But even evacuating civilians are targeted. In this one attack at least eight people are killed.

Olena is worried what this war is doing to everyone's children here.

GNES: Unfortunately these kids, these children are losing a little bit of their childhood. They are being more and more traumatized.


GNES: Katya said that she is angry.

COOPER (on-camera): I can't imagine what it's been like, with this curfew, as you said, for 35 hours to be in one room or in that, you know, underground with your children. That's a lot.

GNES: Oh, yes. They are full of energy and they don't know where to give this energy, especially we ask them all the time to be quiet, and we are in the closed room without any sunlight and, yes, for children it's pretty, pretty hard, and they feel how stressed we are adults and they hear what we are talking about, so, yes, they are pretty stressed, but they are coping with the situation very well. I mean, as we still have --

COOPER: They're scary. They're scary tigers. They are fierce.

GNES: They want to fight. They are asking all the time about Putin, why is he such a bad person, why is he destroying Ukraine, why is he killing people, and when Daddy will come back home and when we will come back home.

COOPER (voice-over): Coming up, a trip to Kyiv to report on the war means an opportunity to meet Olena and her kids in person.

GNES: Hello.

COOPER (on-camera): Hey, it's Anderson.

GNES: Hi. Hello, Anderson.



GNES: Many people on the street, as you can see. You won't believe it may be but just, you know, one hour ago, two hours ago we were sitting in the bomb shelter under the ground without windows. It was dark.


GNES: Without, because the threat is gone.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We've seen a lot of civil resistance to the attempts of Russians to run towns that they have half taken on.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They've halted the Russians there pushing them back.

COOPER (voice-over): Ukrainian forces have stopped the Russian advance on Kyiv, but there's bill they can do to stop the shelling and the deaths of civilians.

GNES: Today in the afternoon there were missiles that were -- they were hit in the sky by air defense system, but parts of the missiles, they fell in our neighborhood.

COOPER (on-camera): And can you hear that?

GNES: Oh, yes. We could hear it very clearly because we went a little bit upstairs just to see the light from the windows, from the basement and all of a sudden all the glass was shaking, and there was one loud explosion and like everybody like stood still then there was another explosion.

COOPER (voice-over): Olena is venturing out of the shelter more frequently during the day trying to get food and taking the kids to play.

JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: The best assessment we, have and it's an assessment at this early stage, is that they are going to be repositioned probably into Belarus, to be refit and resupplied and used elsewhere in Ukraine.

COOPER: On March 29th, unable to capture Kyiv, Russia announces plans to reposition its forces.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This speaks to a really dismal state of affairs of the Russian military.

GNES: Russians withdrew their troops from Kyiv, from the nearest towns, our army say that this is us which has hit them and made them leave, made them go. At the same time with all this, you know, nobody is really celebrating because like we are suspicious like is it really so?

COOPER: In towns now back in Ukrainian control the ferocity of the fighting becomes clear. So are the atrocities Russian troops committed. In Bucha some 12 miles from Olena's basement shelter Ukrainian forces discover evidence of potential war crimes.


PLEITGEN: Ukrainian authorities in Bucha lead us into a basement they call a Russian execution chamber. It's a gruesome scene. Five bodies, their hands tied behind their backs, shot.

COOPER: Russian troops often left the bodies of their victims where they fell. This person was killed riding a bicycle. This man was most likely bringing potatoes home to his family. More than 400 bodies are found.

ZELENSKYY (through text translation): These are war crimes, and they will be recognized by the world as genocide. You are here and you can see what happened.

GNES: I was watching all the details of these dead bodies just to remember, just to remember this forever, and not to forgive, never ever forget and not to forgive what happened.

I hope that those people who were tortured in Bucha became victims, and now they are looking at us right now from the skies. They are looking at me, they're looking at you.

COOPER (on-camera): At least 50 people killed, many more wounded today at a train station in the eastern city of Kramatorsk. You see the bodies there, broken bones, pools of blood. Men, women, children.

GNES: This missile was sent by Russians. Now just in the railway station, even though they knew that people were, like civilians, tried to evacuate themselves. I feel really uncomfortable to say that we will win. I'd rather say that we will finish this war because there are no winners in the war.

COOPER (voice-over): There are still occasional air strikes around Kyiv, but with a lull in the fighting Olena and the kids now visit their apartment more frequently during the day.

GNES: Look. She learned to crawl, and this is what she is going to do. Yes. She grows bigger and bigger, right?

COOPER:: There's even the chance to celebrate birthdays.

GNES: Hi there.

COOPER: Katya turns 8 and for a moment it almost feels like life before the war.

GNES: Happy birthday, honey. Happy birthday. Are you happy? Are you happy?


GNES: OK. Katya is happy. This is good. COOPER: Next, what it's like to finally meet Olena and her family.



GNES: It's Olena from Ukraine with Dorina. And we're going to have a very special, special event right now. Dorina will have her first porridge, her first spoon, and Daddy is back home.


GNES: For three hours again, and we are very happy because I wanted to -- the first spoon to be given by him because this is like a tradition in our family. So it looks like it goes well. She's smiling.

COOPER: Ukrainian forces fire at Russian positions in the eastern Donbas region. That's where the Russians are now focusing their attacks as well as in southern Ukraine.

ZELENSKYY (through text translation): No matter how many Russian servicemen they are bringing in into that area, we will keep on fighting and defending and we will be doing this daily. We will not give up anything that is Ukrainian.

COOPER: Reporting from the Kyiv at the end April I arranged to meet Olena at her apartment.

(On-camera): Hey, it's Anderson.

GNES: Hi, hello, Anderson.

COOPER: Hey. How are you?

GNES: I'm fine. I'm alive. So nice to meet you.


GNES: Usually when you come to Ukrainian home, you will be treated with (INAUDIBLE), I'm so sorry, I didn't do this.

COOPER: It's fine.

GNES: For some obvious reasons, but we've got this traditional Easter bread.

COOPER: Wow, it's lovely.

GNES: Yes. So you can have it with coffee if you like.

COOPER: OK. Well, that's lovely.

GNES: Yes, but for me to do the coffee, I need your help.


GNES: I need you --

COOPER: My god. Wow.

GNES: Maybe she will wake up, I don't know. Try it. You have to know how to do this, yes. Well done. Well done, Anderson. You're doing great.

COOPER (voice-over): Olena tells me that without her husband she doesn't feel safe spending nights here with the kids.

(On-camera): Yes.

GNES: And any time we'll come back to the shelter for night, I still sleep in the shelter.

COOPER: You still sleep there. Yes.

GNES: I'm afraid of sleeping at home. I just know that I'm afraid. I just know that I wouldn't sleep until morning if I stayed home.

COOPER: Right.

GNES: I would just stay on high alert listening to the noise.


GNES: And at the shelter I'm like OK, now, I close my eyes and I can relax a little.

COOPER: Have you noticed the kids changing during these last two months?

GNES: Oh, yes.


They grew up a lot because they face something that in normal life children should not face, and they are playing with like at war and now it's like part of our life. Today Taras woke up and said, mom, can you please take a look in the news, maybe Putin already died? This was the first thing that he --

COOPER: That was the first he said.

GNES: He said in the morning. They draw United Europe. Ukraine is included into Europe, and they just crossed Kremlin and Russia.

COOPER: Oh, wow.

GNES: Because they are obviously very angry with what Russia is doing with Ukraine.


COOPER: Orcas. Yes, that's right. Has it helped making videos? GNES: Yes, it did. I just turned on the role of journalist and started

reporting. And of course it helped me because I don't want people to see me weak and ugly. I wanted them to see me strong and beautiful, and I tried -- tried my best, and another thing I realized --

COOPER: Even when you are weak you are strong and beautiful. So --


GNES: What's happening was very important historical thing, and, yes, it was worth documenting.

COOPER: That was in your mind that this is part of history, and you wanted to document that?

GNES: Exactly. Like this is history. We have to document it. Maybe I will die but the city will be left behind.

COOPER (voice-over): It's not just her kids who've been changed by this war. Olena says she's changed as well.

GNES: I remember even like the night before they started bombing us, I wanted to donate to the Ukrainian army. But I didn't because I felt uncomfortable to support the army because I thought, oh, I'm a peaceful person. I don't want to support the war even if it's Ukrainian army. But now I have no hesitation. Before I was reading an article about a mother of three who was learning how to shoot to protect her kids, and she said I have no hesitation, and I thought I still have some hesitation. I'm not ready to kill a human being, and now I am right now ready to kill the human being.

It feels awful that this happened to me, that now I'm ready to do this, but what they have done to us, what they have done in Bucha is --


GNES: In Mariupol, it's awful, and now I am ready to fight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Bucha. In Berdiansk.

GNES: This is (INAUDIBLE). Now in my eyes we have Bucha and Mariupol.

COOPER (voice-over): The children know by heart the names of places atrocities have been committed.

GNES: This is my neighbor, and you know, these old ladies, what they do, they take care of the small gardens.

COOPER: Outside the sun is shining. It is a beautiful day.

(On-camera): What will you tell Dorina about this time?

GNES: Well, I will tell her that she was such a powerful warrior of light. We didn't plan her with my husband.

COOPER: She was a surprise.

GNES: She was a complete surprise. Moreover we discovered her when I was already two months pregnant.


GNES: Now I'm not only a mother of three kids which is already difficult, but I'm the mother of three children at war but I feel that she was gifted to me from, I don't know, the heavens, the gods, or something powerful to help me go through all of this.

COOPER (voice-over): It all feels so normal.

GNES: I want to show you some photographs.

COOPER: Except Olena's husband Sergiy isn't here.

(On-camera): Your husband is still serving.

GNES: Yes, so for now he is in the army and in the territorial defense. Territorial defense is not equal to the army and they do not know what's going to happen to their unit.



COOPER: It's getting dark. And Olena and the kids will soon head back to their basement shelter to spend the night.

(On-camera): OK. OK.

(Voice-over): But before that the children need to be fed and want to play a bit. Before we say good-bye.


COOPER (on-camera): Thank you so much.

GNES: Thank you so much. It was a pleasure.


GNES: Really to meet you, and I hope we will have better ways to meet, you know.

COOPER: Yes. I hope even happier days.

GNES: Thank you. Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER (voice-over): The war grinds on. Ukrainian troops at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol continue to fight. In an underground bunker they sing, it's sweeter for us to die in battle than to live in chains. GNES: These green thing that Sergiy has in his arm, this is the sign

of territorial defense. The days he has come home for five hours. This is pretty long to say kind of good-bye because they will be relocated somewhere from Kyiv, so that really broke my heart really, and I feel like I'm broken in many, many, many pieces right now, and I'm trying to put these pieces together and stay strong, but it doesn't help much, and another thing is that I -- we don't know where exactly he's going to be. Of course I'm very much worried, and I wish -- I wish I could do something, and I hope he will come back.

Oh, look at that. Beautiful. Look at her. She is so beautiful.

Basically I asked if it's possible for him not to go, and like legally it is possible but morally for him it's not possible, so he decides that if he doesn't go to the front line, if he refuses to go over there, then he will stop respecting himself.


He said that each of the soldiers, a warrior, a defender of Ukraine, could find a reason not to go and if we all start finding the reason not to go then what's the point?

COOPER: With her husband gone, Olena continues to make videos for her YouTube channel "What is Ukraine?" and is grateful she and her family are alive. She has been able to talk to Sergiy on the phone but can't say exactly where he is.

GNES: We, Ukrainian defenders, will have a lot, a lot of work to do here, and it looks like all of us, we have to keep working, yes, to keep standing, to keep fighting, yes. Thank you for standing with Ukraine.

COOPER: The last time we spoke, she told us she still hopes their story can have a happy ending.

GNES: Good-bye. Dorina, say good-bye. Bye-bye, good-bye.